ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville baseball team hopes to play its home opener on Saturday when the Bulldogs start a four-game series against Canisius College. The two teams hope to play two double-headers on Saturday and Sunday starting at Noon.


Asheville is scheduled to start right-hander Dean Roland in the first game, followed by right-hander Elliott Criss in the second game. Roland pitched well before falling to #8 Kentucky last Friday. Criss earned the win in a start against Georgetown of the Big East last Saturday.


Canisius is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and is a preseason pick to finish in second place. The Golden Griffins went 33-27 and advanced to the league championship game. Canisius is located near downtown Buffalo, N.Y.


"This is a good ballclub that's coming to play us this weekend," stated Asheville coach Tom Smith. "Canisius won 33 games last year and had some non-conference victories. They've got a good program and they come from a strong area for baseball."


The Golden Griffins are 2-2 on the young season and making their second trip to North Carolina in two weeks. Canisius played in Cary and Wilson last weekend as it picked up two wins against Albany before falling to Delaware. They played at Appalachian State on Monday and lost to the Mountaineers, 13-6.


Robert McIntosh leads Asheville at the plate so far with a .600 average, three doubles, a triple and four RBI. Ian Graham is hitting .500 this year.


The Bulldogs are coming off a tough 10-9 loss at UNC Greensboro on Wednesday. Asheville trailed the Spartans, 8-3 but roared back to take a 9-8 lead. UNCG scored two in the ninth to pull out the win.


"We showed a lot of heart coming back like we did at Greensboro," commented Smith. "Our guys are improving with each game."